MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Ready, strike!” A drill instructor barks orders to a squad of Company A recruits during their final Marine Corps Martial Arts Program test Jan. 22.
“Kill!” yelled the recruits as they completed the respective strikes.
Nearly three weeks prior to graduation, these recruits were tested on the MCMAP techniques they learned during boot camp. Recruits spent 27.5 required hours learning and mastering the techniques through repetition.
Passing the test means all their hard work had paid off and they earned a tan belt certification in the program. This certification means they will wear a tan belt with their utility uniforms as a symbol of their accomplishments.
“It feels cool to earn the tan belt,” said Recruit Ricardo Sendejar, Platoon 1014, Company A. “I feel more confident and it makes me feel a step closer to becoming a Marine.”
To be tan belt certified in MCMAP, recruits must properly demonstrate nearly 50 techniques such as the basic fighting stances, armed and unarmed strikes, blocks, counters and restraints.
Recruits must pass at least 70 percent of these techniques to qualify for the belt, which means they can fail only 15 techniques.
Recruits also run the Bayonet Assault Course, participate in pugil stick bouts and complete the obstacle course wearing tactical helmets and vests to earn the tan belt.
“Everything they learn will help them know how to defend themselves. That’s probably the most important thing about MCMAP. It instills combat readiness,” said Sgt. Michael Moore, drill instructor, Platoon 1010.
Moore said the program breaks recruits down physically and forces them to push beyond their limits—conditions that make an effective training tool for instilling combat readiness.
Not only does MCMAP instill combat readiness, it was also designed to develop Marines’ character, and mental and physical disciplines.
After classes, instructors lead their students in discussions called tie-ins. During these mentoring periods, instructors and recruits discuss the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment.
“MCMAP teaches us to be warriors, but it also makes us better leaders,” said Moore.